This summary also appears under Alternative Dispute Resolution
Issues: No-fault action; Personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits; Replacement service and attendant-care expenses; Modifying an arbitration award; Krist v. Krist; MCR 3.602(K)(2); MCR 3.602(J)(2)(c); Miller v. Miller; DAIIE v. Gavin; Cooper v. Jenkins; Michigan Assigned Claims Facility (MACF)
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Brown v. Titan Ins. Co.
e-Journal Number: 57697
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Jansen, Saad, and Donofrio
Holding that the trial court lacked the authority to modify the arbitration award under the circumstances, the court concluded that it did not err in confirming the award, which granted all the PIP benefits at issue to the plaintiff. Pursuant to the arbitration award, the trial court ordered the defendant-insurer to pay plaintiff the full amount of the arbitration award ($139,658.72). Defendant disputed plaintiff's entitlement to two-thirds of the combined replacement service and attendant-care expenses ($57,040) that was granted by the award. Plaintiff was a passenger in her husband's (R) uninsured vehicle when it was struck by another uninsured vehicle. "Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and became fully disabled." R provided replacement and attendant care services to her after the accident. The MACF assigned the case to defendant. Plaintiff filed this action to recover benefits. The parties stipulated to resolving the matter through binding arbitration, following which plaintiff moved to confirm the award. Defendant argued that it should be allowed to offset the replacement and attendant-care service payments because (1) it had a statutory right to seek full reimbursement from R, (2) R was the only person entitled to the payments because he provided those services to plaintiff, and thus, (3) defendant would be entitled to receive any payments that it issued to R. The trial court held that all rights in the benefits, including attendant-care and replacement services, belonged to plaintiff. The court concluded that reading the arbitration award as a whole, it was "clear that the arbitration panel awarded the disputed PIP benefits exclusively to plaintiff," and not to defendant or R. "The arbitrators could have declared that they were only deciding the amounts of damages subject to disbursement, or were withholding decision on certain questions, but they did not do so. Instead, the panel specifically stated that it was giving a unanimous award and named plaintiff." The form of the award did not appear to be "flawed or inadequate. The parties stipulated to binding arbitration on all but one issue of law that is irrelevant to this appeal. By necessity, the stipulated order sent all remaining issues to arbitration. The arbitration panel did not exceed the scope of its authority by deciding that plaintiff was entitled to the disputed PIP benefits." Defendant did not show that "the arbitrators' conclusion was an obvious, substantial legal error that was made in manifest disregard of the law," or that the "award was subject to vacation under MCR 3.602(J)(2), or modification or correction under MCR 3.602(K)(2)." Affirmed.
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